On the first ever #WorldBasketballDay, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the remarkable journey of Scottish Basketball throughout 2023. While there has been countless success up and down the country, here are just a few of the highlights:
CashBack School of Basketball Programme
As we entered 2023, this would see us transition from Phase 5 to Phase 6 of our CashBack funded programme. We have worked in three high schools this year – Lochend Community High, St Andrews RC Secondary and St Mungo’s Academy. Our Social Impact Officers have been working with a small group of referred young people who were disengaged with school and at risk of anti-social behaviour. Through 1-2-1 support, off court classroom sessions and on court basketball coaching, our young people have completed accredited learning, developed a personal plan for their growth, undergone mental health and wellbeing training and support, gained qualifications, participated in volunteering and been physically active. We also worked in a number of feeder primary schools delivering basketball and introduction to mental health sessions.
All participants in the core CashBack programme this year have reported feeling more resilient, more able to try new things and more positive about life. 100% of participants’ attendance at school improved throughout the year, 93% reported that they feel more like they belong in a community and 85% of young people have reduced participation in anti-social behaviour. 414 hours of volunteering were completed by the young people in our programme and we have even employed a young person who came through the programme into a coaching role where she is gaining experience, confidence, and an income.
SBC Scottish Cup Finals
In February, the Regional Performance Centre in Dundee hosted the Scottish Basketball Championship (SBC) Cup Finals. Twelve teams from ten clubs displayed their skills on the court, competing for the title of 2023 Champions. The atmosphere was electric as the community gathered to celebrate a weekend of exciting basketball, making the SBC Cup Finals a truly memorable occasion.
U16 Women | Winners – West Lothian Wolves. Runners up – Sony Centre Fury
U16 Men | Winners – Stirling Knights. Runners up – basketballpaisley
U18 Women | Winners – Caledonia Gladiators. Runners up – basketballpaisley
U18 Men | Winners – West Lothian Wolves. Runners up – Glasgow Rens
Senior Women | Winners – Edinburgh University. Runners up – University of St Andrew’s
Senior Men | Winners – Boroughmuir Blaze. Runners up – West Lothian Wolves
March was a busy month. Up first was the 2023 Chair’s Cup. Held in the crags centre, Edinburgh, our Senior Men and Senior Women Finals took to the court to be named the first Chair/Chairmans Cup winners since before the pandemic.
Senior Women | Winners – City of Edinburgh Kats. Runners up – Panther’s Basketball Club
Senior Men | Winners – Glasgow Fever. Runners up – Edinburgh Titans
Scottish Schools Cup
Finally, the Scottish Schools Cup returned to the Regional Performance Centre in Dundee! Over the course of three days, 24 school teams from across the country battled it out for the Championship title. The Finals provided a fantastic opportunity for players to showcase their skills in an exciting atmosphere. The presence of experienced officials also added to the quality of the games.
Spectators were not left disappointed with lots of excitement and even a couple of nail-biting games that kept everyone on the edge of their seats!
S1 Girls | Mary Erskine
S1 Boys | Graeme High School
U15 Girls | Culloden Academy
U15 Boys | Falkirk High School
Open Girls | Falkirk High
Open Boys | Hillhead
Caledonia Gladiators BBL Victory
Sandwiched in between our two Finals events, was another Final that got Scotland talking. After a very exciting and intense final few moments of the game, a buzzer-beater three-pointer saw Caledonia Gladiators pick up the coveted BBL Trophy – winning their first piece of silverware in two decades!
As well as being a Scottish team wining in front of a Scottish crowd, Scotland was also represented both on and off the court, as 11 Scottish table officials and referees were named to officiate across both the WBBL and BBL Finals!
As well as being a Scottish team winning in front of a Scottish crowd, Scotland also had officials both on and off the court across both the WBBL and BBL Finals!
Toni Carvill, Chris Dodds, Aiden Gallagher, Chris Hope, Maisie James, Iain MacDonald, Gillian McKay, Louise Moyes, Fraser Muir, Nick Nassi and Milana Plecas.
Home Nations | U16 & U18s
April saw our Scotland Youth teams step onto the court for the first time in the 2022/23 season. Our U16s travelled to Ireland, with our U18s travelling to Wales the following week to competed in the 2023 Home Nations.
During their time representing Scotland, our Men’s and Women’s teams demonstrated not only their skills on the court but used the time off the court to create strong bonds through the shared passion for the game with other nations. These tournaments served as invaluable opportunities for our young athletes to grow, learn, and foster lasting connections in the world of basketball.
U14s Home Nations
Our U14 teams had less distance to travel for their tournament, as they played at the Regional Performance Centre in Dundee, where the presence of a home crowd added an extra layer of excitement to the games. Joined by Wales and England, the weekend proved to be a resounding success, with participants from all nations enjoying the weekend, both on and off the court. It was particularly rewarding for our Scotland teams, who clinched a couple of exciting wins, making it a memorable weekend for everyone involved.
U14 All Stars
Scotland Blue – Girls | Madison Croall
Scotland Blue – Boys | Hamza Fadel
Scotland White – Girls | Emily Seago
Scotland White – Boys | Zach Rova
This past year, basketballscotland facilitated clubs all over the country in running their own Jr. NBA tournaments with their U12/14 boys’ and girls’ teams. Over 2,000 participants from clubs nationwide signed up for the programme and took full advantage of the opportunity to play as much basketball as possible.
Building on the interest from clubs, basketballscotland organised four Jr. NBA camps, inviting each club to send a select number of players who demonstrated great enthusiasm and work ethic. These camps were designed for players from all over the country to come together for a day of individual skill development and competitive games.
After four weekends of successful camps, basketballscotland held a final festival where players were divided into teams, each assigned a coach for the full day. The teams then competed in several games until one team was crowned victorious and awarded a Jr. NBA Championship ring to take home.
Girls League | Phoenix Suns
Wheelchair League | Detroit Pistons
Boys Eastern Conference | Boston Celtics
Boys Western Conference | Denver Nuggets
Inaugural International Wheelchair Camp
July saw Scotland’s first ever International Wheelchair Basketball Camp, which brought athletes and coaches from various nations for an exciting experience. Over five days, athletes immersed themselves in a supportive and fun environment, concentrating on skill enhancement and performance-level techniques. Led by Head Coach Janet Zeltinger, a renowned wheelchair basketball player, the camp aimed to elevate athletes’ performance through rigorous training, expert coaching, and intense games.
As well as working with esteemed coaches, including a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, athletes gained their Level One Table Official Qualification, expanding their understanding of the game’s technical aspects. The camp also facilitated two international games between Scotland and Ireland, allowing some athlete’s to represent Scotland internationally for the first time.
Scotland Senior Women compete in Spain.
The Scotland Senior Women’s 3×3 team travelled to Barcelona, Spain, to participate in the Catalan Centenary Festival as guests of the Catalan Federation. The festival took place on the streets of Barcelona, in front of the iconic Pedrera, where the atmosphere was electric as the event celebrated the momentous 100-year anniversary of the Catalan Basketball Federation
Despite facing tough opponents, such as Catalonia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, our Scottish players displayed determination and skill, creating thrilling matchups that left spectators on the edge of their seats. While Scotland finished 4th in the competition, our players shared their passion for the game with enthusiastic crowds; inspiring young basketball players both in Scotland and Spain.
Success at Junior Championships
In August, our Scotland U14 and U18 Wheelchair teams travelled to Worcester, England, to compete in British Wheelchair Basketball’s National Junior Championships! The Championships are the highlight of the season and provide an opportunity for our athletes to showcase their skills against the top youth players from England and Wales in the U14s and U18s age groups.
It was a successful weekend for our Scotland teams with our U18’s emerging as champions after winning all four of their competitions, with Finlay Erskine being named as MVP.
In the U14s competition, Scotland White secured the Silver medal, while Scotland Blue earned a well-deserved Bronze.
These achievements were the pinnacle of a very successful season and are a testament to the hard work and passion that our young athletes and their coaches put into the game every time they step onto the court.
Summer Jam Series
During summer 2023, in partnership with Glasgow Life, basketballscotland supported Glasgow Basketball Community to receive funding from the European Capital of Sport Fund and deliver an outdoor basketball Summer Jam Series. The Community are primarily an outdoor basketball group who organise open runs, pick up games and tournaments (Jams) on outdoor courts in an effort to remove facility cost barriers and make basketball more accessible. Over the summer they hosted three tournaments – at Queens Park, Mansfield Park and the Riverside Museum. Despite some challenges with typical Scottish weather, the events were very successful, reaching a wide and diverse group of basketballers, 75% of whom do not play regularly in basketballscotland run competition. The events were a mix of 3×3 and 5v5 and the hope is to build on this moving forward, incorporating wider activity for the local community around the courts and an opportunity for more people who have never played basketball before to give it a shot.
Easterhouse Sports Centre Opens
In September, the Easterhouse Sports Centre officially opened its doors. The centre has a rich basketball history, and basketballscotland was enthusiastic about reintroducing basketball and various other sports to the community.
Since its opening, the centre has hosted recreational basketball on Friday nights, community sessions after school, club training and games, and school tournaments, to name a few activities. The community engagement extends to walking football for older generations, regular martial arts, gymnastics, and dance. Local police have reported a decrease in anti-social behaviour.
Our goal is to enhance positive experiences through basketball, measured by Enjoyment, the development of Life Skills, Improvement, and Wellbeing. The impact of reopening the Sports Centre in Easterhouse is evident in all these indicators, despite being open for just a few months since September.
Gladiators Take To The European Court
October saw both Caledonia Gladiator teams step onto the European court. The men’s side travelled to Romania to compete against BC CSU Sibiu, where our Gladiators secured the win with a score of 68-80.
On the same night, our Gladiator women were welcoming European basketball and spectators to Playsport Arena for their first home game of the season. Portugal’s SL Benfica stepped onto the court with the Gladiators; however, they weren’t able to keep up with the Gladiators, who were victorious with a 73-52.
The Caledonia Gladiators Women’s side are in more European Cup action TONIGHT as they welcome NKA Universitas Pecs from Hungary to the Playsport arena. It was the Hungarian side who took the win during their last meeting, but can Gladiators take the win on home soil? Get your tickets here to find out!
Scots win Gold with Great Britain In Japan
In November, Scots Finlay Erskine, Daniel McLaughlin, Finley Tonner, and Mark Stevenson were selected to don the Great Britain jersey as they travelled to Japan to compete in the Kitakyushu Champions Cup. After some close competition against Japan and Korea, the team were victorious and returned home with gold medals around their necks.
The Regional Academy is basketballscotland’s development programme for players in U14-U18 age groups and for coaches who are serious about improving. Each age group has a lead coach, as well as a coaching team, who all work together.
U16 & U18
Rather than being based in the traditional regions, where the numbers of players may vary year to year, the 2023/24 Regional Academy takes the form of a series of central venue events, incorporating practise and games.
This year we have the following numbers attending;
- Coaches | 18
- U16/18 Men | 60
- U16/18 Women | 48
This year we have made some changes to the U14 Regional Academy programme following feedback from coaches, clubs and parents. The purpose of these changes is to:
- Reduce numbers at sessions in order to improve player experience;
- Reduce travel time and costs for parents where possible;
- Reduce the duration of sessions to maintain intensity;
- Ensure alignment with the fixture calendar by slightly reducing the number of sessions each player attends.
With this in mind, we have developed a blended approach with centralised and regionalised sessions across two centres in the East (Dundee) & West. We have specified which clubs will be attending each of the centres.
This year we have the following numbers attending;
- Coaches 20
- U14 Boys 80
- U14 Girls 70
We would like to thank everybody involved in Scottish basketball this year for all their hard work and support. Merry Christmas and here’s to another busy and exciting year on the court!